Summary: Microsoft’s sheer aggression against GNU/Linux as an indicator of Free software strength, not weakness
Yesterday was the last time we have shown that Microsoft was bribing and cheating to shape the image of Vista 7. It’s this time of the cycle again; Microsoft does this every time a new release of Windows is approached (and for quite some time afterwards).
Several items in the news this week serve as a reminder of the fact that Microsoft cannot promote Vista 7 while leaving competitors alone*. One scenario that we outlined before was Microsoft’s latest patent attack on Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This subject was brought up again yesterday at LinuxCon:
Does the troll-blocking organization that recently secured a set of supposedly Linux-related patents from Microsoft need sizing for a penguin-shaped tinfoil hat? Or was the IP sale really Redmond’s secret scheme to “create fear, uncertainty, and doubt” in the open-source community?
On Monday, at LinuxCon in Portland, Oregon, Open Invention Network chief executive Keith Bergelt had more harsh words for Microsoft over Redmond’s allegedly sinister sale. Apparently, Microsoft shopped its patents to several firms, including some notorious patent trolls, and it didn’t offer them to OIN.
Brendan Scott, a lawyer, opines that Microsoft has inadvertently harmed its Linux patent racket by putting those patents up for sale… only to be swept up quite cunningly by the OIN. His explanation goes like this:
[W]hat is the impact of this sale on manufacturers of Linux based devices who are entering cross-licensing arrangements with Microsoft? What is the value of a cross licensing deal intended to protect against Linux related patents if the very patents you want to license are, will be, or have been, sold off to third parties?
Is Microsoft undermining its patent cross licensing push?
Another step Microsoft has taken against GNU/Linux adoption (specifically on the desktop) is the spreading of poisonous and deceitful material at Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot [1, 2, 3, 4]. ITWire has some new coverage which explains how this relates to Vista 7.
Microsoft launches new pre-Windows 7 anti-Linux offensive
Microsoft has been making steps to educate U.S. retailers that Linux is a limited operating system that works with only few peripherals or online services, and that what most customers want is Windows.
Microsoft has confirmed it developed materials that portray Linux as unsuitable for consumer use, and distributed these to retail sales staff around the United States.
This sure smells like “perception management” which Microsoft takes so much pride in [1, 2]. Microsoft devised what it calls “constant indoctrination” and this is particularly important now that its future is hinged on the post-Vista operating system. Vapourware tactics have already been used to promise features that Vista 7 will never deliver. It’s just like Vista and WinFS all over again. Watch this video from 2007 (when Vista was released). Around the 5th minute Linus Torvalds speaks about how Windows Vista is mostly hype. He too appears to have figured out how Microsoft marketing works. █
Intel used rebates to freeze out AMD, EC docs show
The European Competition Commission has released more of the evidence that lay behind its decision to fine Intel over a billion euros for abusing its market position and undermining competion in the chip market.